Korg Adds SD Card Support to Bring PA50 into the 21st Century
(ShackMan | Posted 2010-03-02)
MELVILLE, NY – Korg’s PA50 keyboard is getting a long overdue upgrade out of the ‘90s and into the 21st century with support for SD cards instead of floppy diskettes. SD cards offer a great deal more storage over a floppy disk’s 1.44 megabytes (or 2.88 for a dual layer diskette), holding between 1 and 2 GIGAbytes, almost 1,000 times as much data space. For SD Cards, there are no loading times, as all the hardware is solid state with no moving parts. The lack of moving parts also adds to the reliability and longevity of the hardware. The cards are also almost immune to magnetic fields, unlike diskettes, which can be easily erased by a stray magnet.
The best part about the switch to new SD memory instead of floppy diskettes, in my opinion, is organization. The SD Cards can hold hundreds of songs in MIDI, PTB, MUS, SIB, or many other formats. Before the SD Card, diskettes only had the option, usually, of MIDI, or very short and uncomplicated arrangements in other formats. No more boxes of diskettes. No more getting stuck with constraining file formats that can't fully showcase your piece. SD Cards are the way to go for Korg, even if it is a little late for them to jump on the bandwagon.
The PA50SD, which is the SD version of the PA50 digital arranger, features a TRITON based engine and all the original features of the PA50, including the original diskette drive, which you can see clearly in the photo, just in case. The keyboard still has the most important features of the Pa Series Style engine, which follows the performers voice leading, chording and timing for instant, on-the-fly arrangements. That is, it creates broken or block chords in various voices on top of what you are already playing to enhance your performance, with plenty of parameters with which to adjust your backup band.
The PA50SD's sounds definitely sound like they come from the flagship TRITON series, and they're pretty crisp even through the onboard stereo speakers. However, it's through an outboard amplifier or especially a PA system (thanks to the stereo effects) that the onboard digital effects, playback controls, and high bitrate synthesis truly shine. All of the above features are fully adjustable and through an onboard LCD screen and plenty of programmable analog knobs and dials. The Korg PA50SD also allows one song to play as another song loads.
Thankfully, the keyboard won’t be any more costly than the original model, with an MSRP of $1149.00. It is available in stores now.